2012 security radar: Counterfeit CE, Android malware & Anonymous

Kaspersky Labs has compiled a list of five major online security issues web denizens will read about, and possibly experience firsthand, come next year. Spoiler alert: 2012 will resemble 2011 in more ways than just expensive gas and anti-piracy legislation debates.

2012 security radar: Counterfeit CE, Android malware & Anonymous

Malware and More

Kaspersky’s Threat Post blog pointed out two major concerns with a common thread: computer hardware with built-in security flaws, and Android-based malware.

Counterfeit consumer electronics in particular will become less “sideshow” and more main act, warned the company.

“Government agencies, militaries and commercial firms in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere will increasingly worry that gear they purchased with confidence may, in fact, contain components of dubious origin that could provide an attacker with access to critical networks or systems, or that could be funneling sensitive information to parties hostile to their organization,” it said.

Kaspersky added that there is a big target on the Android mascot’s little green dome – one cyber crooks have already hit several times this year. Google needs to address the “dirty little secret,” urged the company.

A quarterly report from McAfee in November revealed the Android malware market grew by nearly 40 percent in the past few months.

Two weeks ago, a hacker published cloned versions of popular gaming apps including Angry Birds and Cut the Rope loaded with an SMS scam to the Android Marketplace. Thousands downloaded the malicious software before Google removed it.

Not Just Kids in a Basement, but People on the Street

Kaspersky also claimed hacker group Anonymous will continue to pick up steam in the new year, having already demonstrated its unique talent to the chagrin of carefully-selected targets. Complimenting online shenanigans with real-life protests, the hacktivists have drawn both praise and scorn from curious onlookers.

“As the year drew to a close these groups noticeably shifted from prank-oriented hacks for laughs, aligning themselves with political movements like Occupy Wall Street and using their skills to lend material and virtual support to the protests in various cities,” the company said. “Supporting populist figures like the student protestors at UC Davis is just good PR, but it also plays into the larger Anonymous narrative about using asymmetric force against abuse of individual liberties by corporations and governments.”

Kaspersky Labs’ full 2012 security watch list can be viewed here.